Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover - the Bestselling "Kissing Hand" Series Continues!

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CHESTER RACCOON AND THE ALMOST PERFECT SLEEPOVER (written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson) is the tenth picture book in the #1 New York Times bestselling THE KISSING HAND series. 

Chester Raccoon can't wait to attend his friend Pepper Opossum's "overday" sleepover, with several other nocturnal friends. Not even Sassafras Skunk's "stinky puffs" can ruin the fun when Pepper Opossum, Stanley Squirrel, Sassafras Skunk, Amber Porcupine, and Chester play darts (using Amber's quills, of course), hang upside-down, skip stones across the creek, play follow the leader, and eat tasty rotten fruit and dead bugs (yum!). But when everyone gets sleepy and starts heading to bed, Chester feels homesick and misses his mom. 

It was fun seeing all the animal-specific traits (like how the porcupine and skunk can't hold onto the branch upside-down as well as the opossum) and how it's an "overday" party because they're nocturnal. This could be a fun way to teach kids about different species of animals and their different behaviors. I loved the expressive illustrations - I especially enjoyed the way this illustrator depicted different textures. The characters model behaviors like taking turns and practicing safety. This sweet story shows both friendship and family relationships in a positive light. Many kids will relate to Chester's sleepover anxiety, and I liked that anxiety / feeling nervous in general is mentioned multiple times without being shamed or stigmatized. 

There's a lot of text in this book, so it would be better for a longer read rather than a quick bedtime story. I haven't read the other books in this series yet, but you can easily pick up this one first without being confused. I really enjoyed this cute story and I think kids will too!

4.5 / 5.0